Since early October 2012, every day before the first Saturday of the month, I’d be sweating some detail, tracking down partners, bagging meters, or otherwise loading my car with stuff. Today is no different. Except its the last time I’ll be in charge of Community First Saturdays on game day. (Don’t worry, I’m planning a super fun one for May 3 :)). While I load the car I’m thinking about Jomarie who never fails to show up and teach Tai Chi to anyone willing to learn. I’m thinking about all of the great non-profits who have come out and made their case with sidewalk chalk and hula hoops. I’m thinking about all of the food trucks who have put their gourmet ideas into action and kept us all fed and happy. I’m thinking about all the volunteers, and interns and coworkers who have helped keep the event fun and easy going. I look back at all of the JSO officers who make every effort to reach rogue parkers on our closed streets who we don’t want to tow unless we absolutely have to! (We’ve still have never towed anyone- yet). I think of our best friend Missy who always comes with a smile and a great sense of humor.

When I told my kids that I was transitioning to a new job, my daughter said she’d mostly miss sitting under the tent with Missy and I people watching. I assume she’ll miss the snow cones as well.

This event tomorrow will be a big one I think, as any time we mention our local craft beers usually is. But its also a way to meet other One Spark creators, like myself, and hear ideas before the festival even starts. One Spark is so amazing but there is no way you can catch every creator. Come to the event tomorrow to meet some folks and hear about their passion projects and ideas as a prelude to the fest. Pick up some merch. The sunglasses are very cool and only $5.

I won’t be able to mention a lot of folks, I’ll not try to name them all, but I do want say thank you, to everyone, to every band, to every family who checked their bike at bike valet, to Santa, to Community First, Sawyer Gas and all of our excellent partners.

Take comfort in knowing that every event I’ve ever started ended up getting fresh and innovative managers and volunteers. RAM and Art Walk are WAY BETTER than I could have ever pulled of. We’ll have Community First Saturdays for some time and we won’t miss a beat and  the event will continue to grow and get better and better. And I’ll see you there!



One Comment on “Bittersweet

  1. Tony,
    You have done an amazing job sharing your passion for downtown and making first Saturdays a destination for many. I am looking forward to the exciting and innovative things you will do for the Cultural Council and the Jacksonville arts community… well done and good luck!

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